Because life is a series of edits

Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Holding Our Collective Breath for the Redbirds

In Places & Spaces, Sports on September 30, 2006 at 9:02 pm

last-game-of-2006.jpg

My oldest and I went to our last Cards game of the season on Thursday night, during which something (barely) resembling baseball was played by the home team. I’m not kidding: it was the worst major league game I’ve ever watched in person, as the Brewers beat the Birds, 9-4.

On Friday night, my sister, Jamie, and her family came down from Illinois to see the Cards whup up on Milwaukee, 10-5, complete with (another) Pujols homerun and a crowd that actually had a pulse after Albert resuscitated them. Jamie’s family stayed with us last night after the game and, while I was a little jealous, I tried not to let it show.

Today, my second-born and I watched on TV the Cards beat (barely) the Brewers, 3-2, thanks to Scott Spiezio’s bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the eighth and Jeff Suppan’s solid pitching performance. (Note: I have no idea what La Russa was thinking unintentionally/intentionally walking the eighth batter to make the Brewers pull their pitcher for a pinch-hitter, who then promptly knocked in two runs. I like Tony, but sometimes I think he overthinks things.)

And now, I’m checking to see if the Braves finished off the Astros for us so we can rest Chris Carpenter on Sunday and save him for Tuesday night’s first game of the playoffs against the Dodgers/Padres (if we make it that far) instead of having to clinch this silly division tomorrow.

Geez. You would think I’m a fan or something.

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Tonsils, Be Gone! (The Sequel)

In Church, Young Ones on September 27, 2006 at 8:19 pm

Just an update: our fourth came through her surgery with flying colors, so much so that we just got her home this evening rather than having to stay at the hospital overnight. She doesn’t seem to be feeling nearly as much pain as our third did when she had the same procedure done, but that’s probably because our fourth has a much higher threshold of pain than number three does (plus number three was six months younger at the time). Anyway, thanks for praying.

Between catching up from today and making sure all’s well tomorrow, I probably won’t get around to posting much of anything until the weekend. In the meantime, I’ll pass along this Seminary Tychicus post I read yesterday that, for some reason, really resonated with me. The guy reads my mind sometimes (though in this case, it was his friend Learner’s journal).

Tonsils, Be Gone!

In Young Ones on September 27, 2006 at 2:00 am

Today (and possibly the next week or so) is going to be somewhat demanding as our almost-three-year-old goes in to have her tonsils out.

I won't bore you with the details; after all, tonsillectomies are about as routine as you can get in terms of surgery. Still, anytime there's anesthesia involved and you have to watch your normally active little one lose all consciousness before your very eyes, well, it's weird.

Anyway, if you're the praying type, we'd appreciate prayer for our youngest as she goes through the procedure (scheduled for 11 a.m.), as well as for us as we provide comfort after.

A (Long) Lament for the Church

In Thought on September 26, 2006 at 11:23 am

Taken from Learner’s journal entry, written as part of the seminary’s annual day of prayer this morning:

“God, here I am with another complaint, yet one that is near to your heart (and becoming more so to mine). I don’t desire to whine, but that’s all I seem to do after I make such a qualification. Hear me, God, and understand my heart.

I’m weary, Jesus, of your ugly bride – of her inadequacies, of her incompetencies, of her indecency. I’m weary of how your grace covers a multitude of her sins when, frankly, a little more of your wrath (or at least your discipline) might seem to bring about faster change. I’m weary of how your bride is little more than a whore in a wedding dress, and how that seems to bother me more than it does you.

I’m tired of your chosen companion to whom you have committed yourself – she is self-absorbed, completely clueless, and driving me crazy with her wedding plans. If you would just set a date and get married already, then maybe you would be able to (finally) get her under control.

She is rude, Jesus – and arrogant, too, so much so that everything she does is tainted with pride and a lack of honest reflection and communication with you. How can you allow this to go on? Does it not bother you that excellence and beauty are of little concern to her? Are you not aware of how poorly she does everything and is either unaware or unconcerend with her performance? Are you even aware or concerned with her performance? Sometimes I wonder.

Does it not bother you, the words she puts in your mouth? The assumptions she makes? The lack of concern she seems to exhibit for what you have always said you cared about? Does it not bother you that she is flirtatious and easily distracted by other suitors? That she is a gossip? That she is both a prostitute and a prude, depending on who’s watching?

And to think, you are still engaged to her after all this time! Why? How can you love her – care for her – think of her with any kind of hope for change in your heart? How can who she is be worthy of who you are? And why am I so offended and almost sorry for the fact that you are so in love with her? She doesn’t at all seem your type or on your level.

And yet you are in love with her – you say you are, you show you are, you’re sure you are. You’re not ashamed of her (or at least you don’t seem to be), and you’ve yet to reconsider your commitment to her (at least not that I know of). You’ve lain down your life for her and put your reputation (which, in most circles, is quite good when it’s apart from her) on the line by not just associating with her, but by being her beau.

And you’re patient with her, both now and presumably in the future. And while I don’t even begin to understand that, I admire you for it. I want to try to understand, and I want to try to love her the way you love her (though I may not always know why). I know you love her, and that must mean she’s worth loving – or maybe she’s not, but you do anyway.

Forgive me for my critique; for my own unloveableness; for my own unwillingness to love. Help me love that which you do – in the way you do – to the degree you do.

And send me an invite to the wedding. As much as it’s hard to believe, I want to be there when you two finally get hitched.”

Baggage

In Humanity, Writing on September 25, 2006 at 10:05 pm

(I wrote the majority of this short piece five years ago, but never knew how to end it. This past weekend, I came up with an ending that might work, though I’m open to suggestions.)

Baggage
by Craig Dunham

(The scene opens. On one side is the Attendant, a mostly-even-tempered airline employee – courteous and professional. On the other side is Mr. Jones, a business traveler who tends to blow everything out of proportion through over-analysis and over-reaction. The Attendant is looking at her computer screen, having just helped a traveler; Mr. Jones is the next person in line.)

Attendant: Next in line, please.

Mr. Jones: That’s me. (Picks up luggage and walks forward to desk.) Good morning.

Attendant: Good morning, sir. And where are you heading today?

Mr. Jones (putting luggage down): You know, that’s a great question. (Attendant looks perplexed.) I suppose that’s the question everybody is asking these days, aren’t they – and of course, they should be, I mean, it’s pretty important! – but I’m not sure I’ve figured that one out just yet. How about you? What’s your final destination?

Attendant (confused): Uh, I’m here at this desk until five. You don’t know your final destination?

Mr. Jones: I’m telling you I’m not really sure, and anyway, I’m not sure I have any choice in the matter. I mean, how in the world – in the midst of a thousand ideas and a million thoughts about what makes the world go ‘round – am I supposed to figure that out?

Attendant: Well, you might try looking at your ticket.

Mr. Jones (getting a bit more emotional as he considers the statement): As if it were that simple! Where do I get a ticket like that, one that tells me everything I need to know about my final destination, let alone how to get there and when to leave!?

Attendant (trying to help): From a travel agent? Or the Internet?

Mr. Jones: The Internet!? You seriously think the ticket for my final destination can be found on the Internet, the wasteland of all humanity, the dumping ground for all useless information, opinion, and fluff?

Attendant: Well, if you purchased it from there, yes.

Mr. Jones: Purchased it from there? At what price? What would such a ticket really be worth? And do you really think I could afford something like that on the salary I make? Maybe it’s a little different on the other side of that counter, but I’m not pulling down that kind of money, nor am I willing to throw it at the Internet for a ticket for my supposed final destination!

Attendant (becoming a little irritated): I see. Well, sir, let me try to find your ticket in our system. Can you give me your name, please?

Mr. Jones (flippantly): You think that by simply entering my name, you will somehow pull up on your computer my final destination?

Attendant (impatiently): That’s my intention, sir. Your name, please?

Mr. Jones: Jones. Ed Jones. (Attendant types as Mr. Jones builds momentum.) But I doubt seriously that by typing in the random label my parents chose to give me to distinguish me from the rest of the world, that you will be able to determine my final destination – that one place where this life ends and where whatever comes next begins – that one place called…

Attendant (finding the destination): Cleveland.

Mr. Jones: Excuse me?

Attendant: Cleveland. Your final destination is Cleveland.

Mr. Jones (embarrassed and understanding a bit): Oh. Yes, Cleveland. Cleveland is THAT final destination.

Attendant (trying to move things along): Has your baggage been with you from the time you packed it?

Mr. Jones (shaking his head): Ma’am, I haven’t known a time when I haven’t had my baggage with me.

Attendant (not looking up): Do you have any baggage you’d like to check?

Mr. Jones (pauses): Do you think it will help? To check my baggage, I mean?

Attendant (looking up): It usually does. It’s hard carrying everything around with you.

Mr. Jones: You’re telling me. (pauses) Well, now that you mention it, yes. I do have some baggage to check. (pauses for courage…and then begins, increasing in agony with each line) I was always picked last for kickball in the 3rd grade. I liked New Coke when nobody else did. On my first date, I totaled my car swatting at a fly. In high school band, I played clarinet instead of trumpet because my lips were too big. My greatest academic achievement was four years of perfect attendance. My cat never liked me and my dog’s name was “Stay.”

Attendant (interrupting): Stay?

Mr. Jones: Stay. As in “Come here, Stay.” (pause) He never came.

Attendant (staring dumbfounded): Sir?

Mr. Jones (emotionally exhausted): Yes?

Attendant (trying to get back on track): How many suitcases do you have?

Mr. Jones (looking down): Two.

Attendant: Thank you. (tagging the luggage) Please make your way to Security.

Mr. Jones (looking sad): Ma’am, I’d love to, but I’ve been insecure my whole life.

Attendant (hurriedly): Next!

Happiness Is…

In Thought on September 23, 2006 at 9:01 am

Learner and I went to a bachelor party for a guy he mentored last school year (he gets married today). The party was at Learner’s associate pastor’s apartment and, after everyone had arrived, then moved to the roof of the 17-story building for drinks and stogies.

While Learner’s not one for cigars, he did say that happiness is having an associate pastor who makes the world’s greatest gin and tonic.

Random Schmada

In Pop Culture on September 22, 2006 at 2:00 am

As the past week has largely been a wash in terms of actual content here at Second Drafts, I thought I'd round out the week with a random list so as not to break the cycle. Thankfully, this weekend is fairly unspoken for in terms of previous engagements (the first time in nearly a month), so I'll try to do better. In the meantime, enjoy the random schmada below.

Intriguing search engine terms with which people found my blog in the past week:

  • "men need emotional support"
  • "best books seminary training"
  • "significant quotes from the puritan time"
  • "euphemisms for stupid"
  • "cereal parade float pictures"
  • "playing dress up with the wife" (my favorite)

Biggest academic breakthrough in the past month: Hebrew (I'm finally getting it…for now)

Latest season of The X-Files watched on DVD: Season 4

Latest song downloaded from iTunes: "Suitcase" by Keb' Mo'

Best book read in the past month: How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart

Worst book read in the past month: The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

Book I'm looking forward to reading in the next month: What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

Check back next week for something (hopefully) a little more intellectually stimulating.

An Apple-y Part of This Delicious Breakfast

In Pop Culture on September 21, 2006 at 11:22 pm

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magnificent-mile-parade.jpg

Following up on my previous weekend post, here are some shots from our first-place-winning, apple-themed float from last weekend’s Griggsville Apple Festival. This was my family’s fourth straight first place finish, which has to be a record in Magnificent Mile Parade history.

The float was themed “A Bowl Full of Apple Jacks,” and the girls and their cousins were the “Jacks” (see side of the float), wearing red- and green-tinted intertubes in the “bowl” next to the big glass of milk and behind the big Apple Jacks box in the back of the truck.

If you’re interested in seeing more of our small town fun, we’ve posted more pics here.

Today I Become My Students’ Least Favorite Teacher

In Wildwood on September 20, 2006 at 2:00 am

In case you've been following along, you know we've made it through the Pentateuch and are almost to the Promised Land (not bad for a month). Here's what I'm handing out to my high school students today at the end of Bible class (papers are due November 1st, so mark your calendars and get to writing if you want full credit):

Wildwood Bible Class
Israel in the Old Testament: Research Paper
Instructor: Mr. Dunham
Fall 2006

The assignment
Explain how Deuteronomy serves and shapes Old Testament Israel in becoming and being a blessed people who are to be a blessing to others. For instance, what does Deuteronomy’s renewal of the covenant mean for Israel’s relationship with God? How does Deuteronomy’s reiteration of God’s laws for worship and conduct determine the direction of Israelite civilization? Why is the reminder of God’s blessings and curses in relation to Israel’s obedience or disobedience significant in light of the nation’s past? What does any of this have to do with Israel’s interactions with other nations, cultures, and peoples? What applications are we to make from God’s dealings with Israel? Simply put, why does Deuteronomy matter – then and now?

Preliminary step: Pray and propose. (Notecard)
Prayerfully re-read/skim Deuteronomy and identify no more than 2-3 main ideas/texts you wish to focus on in order to fulfill the assignment. Important: Students are to submit a 3×5 card on Wednesday, September 27th, on which you have written your name and initial 2-3 idea/text outline (this is simply to ensure that you get started within a week’s time).

Step one: Examine texts with guidance towards their original significance. (2 pages)
Keeping CAPTOR in mind, clarify and summarize your understanding of the original setting and purpose of the texts. How do your texts serve the overarching purpose of God’s intention for Israel? How do the texts address opportunities and needs in the original audience? End step two by writing a 1- or 2-sentence summary of the original significance of the story.

Step two: Come under coaching of Christian interpreters who have studied the texts. (1 page)
Examine the ways in which significant interpreters have commented on the texts. Although not of the same authority as biblical elaborations, legitimate applications of Scripture have been made throughout the history of the church as God’s people have summarized the teaching of Scripture to face the problems and opportunities of their day. It’s always good to read others.

Step three: Summarize texts’ original significance and suggest modern application. (2 pages)
Drawing upon your summaries – of the texts’ original significance, its place in the overall story of the Pentateuch, and applications of its teaching about the character of God and his people – how would you summarize Deuteronomy’s value in addressing Israel’s needs? How might your study apply to New Testament Israel (i.e. the Church) today?

Specs and use of sources
Research papers should be typed in a standard 12-point typeface and double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and approximately 5 pages in length. Overall neatness, spelling, grammar, pagination, etc. counts, so proofread your paper (or have someone else proofread it) and staple in the upper lefthand corner.

Students are to consult a minimum of 3 outside sources (see the syllabus or Mr. Dunham for recommendations). Please document your sources and any quotations Turabian style in either footnote or endnote form and include a “works cited” sheet/bibliography. Do NOT use or include website research, as Internet sources are transient and difficult to assess.

You have six weeks to complete your research paper. Papers are due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, November 1st, and worth 25% of your overall grade.

(Note: Hermeneutical process paper steps borrowed and adapted from Covenant Seminary).

Writing and the Seminary Experience

In Thought on September 17, 2006 at 6:10 pm

Learner is desperately trying to work through a set of papers he is to grade for the seminary’s Spiritual and Ministry Formation summer class. While the occasional paper stands out, in general, the writing overall is somewhat lacking.

When I ask him to clarify, his list is as follows:

– poor spelling and missing words
– typos and inconsistent spacing
– lack of structure and logical flow of thought
– little to no documentation of sources quoted
– little to no practical or personal application

In the midst of reading the papers, Learner said there is one positive aspect he can think of: “It’s a safe bet nobody’s plagiarizing,” he said.

That’s It?

In Marriage on September 17, 2006 at 2:00 am

Overheard this afternoon, just after naptime:

Katie (4 1/2): "Mommy, why did you marry Daddy?"

Megan: "Because he asked me to."

That's it? That's all? Guess it's a good thing I was first (and fastest) in line.

Changes Sequel

In Thought on September 15, 2006 at 8:10 am

Learner got semi-rebuked this morning by the chapel coordinator (I’ll call her “Fortissima”) for his chapel attendance observations, which I shared in my previous post.

“Could it be,” she asked, “that attendance is up because of purposeful changes we’ve made in chapel – adding student testimonies, including more students and their musical gifts – rather than just because of increased student numbers and that it’s early in the semester?”

Learner was surprised by Fortissima’s reproach, mostly because he was dumbfounded someone had actually read his thoughts here and had confronted him with them in real life.

Looks like I’m going to have to work even harder to get anything out of him now, especially now that he knows we actually have readers.

And looks like he’s for sure going to chapel later this morning.

More Fun Than You Can Shake a Stick At

In Books, Places & Spaces, Thought on September 15, 2006 at 12:13 am

47557753_7659293ed5_m.jpgIf it’s the third weekend in September (and it is), we’ll be heading once again to the Griggsville Apple Festival to defend our first place parade float finish in 2005. Here’s an excerpt of what we can expect (taken from last year’s experience, as recorded on the TwentySomeone site):

“My family has had a float in the parade the past couple of years, so we’ll be in that tomorrow, throwing candy to countless thousands (okay, dozens) of scrambling children along the street whose parents will be pointing, trying to recognize me from high school. Have you ever noticed how, 10-15 years later, the people you went too high school with all look ‘swollen’? Maybe it’s just me…and maybe I do, too.”

loopsale19.jpgIf you’re still in town (in St. Louie, that is), apparently there are 18 or so stores down on The Loop that are slashing prices up to 50% as part of the second annual “Loop on Sale” weekend (hat tip to Kelly at Subterranean Books). As we aren’t going to be here, somebody go and let us know how it was (apparently, there’s going to be quite a bit of art around as well, so that should be cool).

chapel-colbert.jpgFinally, if you’re in the mood for music, you might want to check out the second concert at The Matthews Chapel, featuring Steven Colbert (the musician, not the other guy). The show is Saturday night and starts at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:45). Tickets are $5.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, be sure to tell ’em the Dunhams sent you (nice rhyme).

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Adullamites

In Church on September 14, 2006 at 10:08 am

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Here’s a shot of the participants in the first Adullam Retreat held last weekend (thanks to Dick Schamp for the pic). Great time had by all (and we may have even learned something about the difference between trusting God and pleasing God, too). Next retreat: early November.

We’re off like a herd of turtles…

Changes

In Thought on September 13, 2006 at 11:16 am

The weather seems to be changing and Learner and the family are very much enjoying the temperature difference of late. Though the trees have yet to drastically change their color, it won’t be long now, and Learner has been in a particularly good mood recently anticipating this transition.

Other changes he’s noticed:

– Hebrew (the second time around) isn’t so bad. Granted, he hasn’t gotten to the place yet where he began to really fall off the wagon the first time, but his sense of calm with the rehashed material at a slightly slower pace has made him feel more at peace.

– In general, his reading is more but less, as a majority of his books are more popular/practical than academic/theological this semester. While he still is required to read a few books he won’t try to start before he goes to bed, he has many more that move down to the next level and begin to draw more modern applications.

– Class sizes seem larger this year than last, both in classes he’s had as well as in the ones he has, and he’s not particularly happy about that fact. Several times he’s had flashbacks to courses in college in which he could become quite anonymous, do the readings and homework, pass the exams, and never really have a conversaton with the professor. This, he says, is not what grad school/seminary is supposed to be.

– More people are attending chapel this year than last, but that may be because 1) there are more people enrolled (as mentioned above); and 2) it’s still September, a month or so before the big projects are due.

He wonders: if the attendance changes back, is that really a change?

I tell him to get back to Hebrew and stop analyzing everything.

Wuv, Mawiage

In Marriage, Seminary on September 13, 2006 at 2:00 am

One class I'm definitely going to enjoy this semester is Marriage and Family Counseling with Dr. Dan Zink. While there's a fair amount of reading, it's manageable (not to mention highly applicable…ahem), and I thought I might let you in a little bit of the processing I'm doing in the midst of my prep for the class.

Here are some quotes (along with a few of my thoughts to tie them together) as to what men might need to overcome if they want to get (and stay) happily married:

From Holding Hands, Holding Hearts by Richard and Sharon Phillips:

"When a woman enters a dating relationship, she mainly needs to be protected from the sins of the very man to whom she is offering her heart. The enemy that men need to stand up to is the one who lives within themselves: the one who is selfish, insensitive, and uncommitted. It is when that man is put to death the woman will be safe and will be blessed in the relationship." (72)

This quote brings to mind Proverbs 4:23: "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." While I was well aware of the danger within me in the form of the lust of the flesh when Megan and I were dating/courting, I'm not sure I was that convinced I could be selfish, insensitive, and (the hardest one to imagine at the time) uncommitted toward her. Ten years of marriage, however, has made me a believer as to my potential in these areas, but thankfully they have also been a wake-up call to deal with it.

In Peter Scazzero's book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, I took the informal "Emotional/Spiritual Health Inventory" (as found on pages 60-66, or take it online here). Apparently, I'm an official "emotional adolescent" (as opposed to an emotional infant, child, or adult), the definition of which means that,

"Like a physical adolescent, I know the right ways I should behave in order to 'fit in' mature, adult society. I can feel threatened and alarmed inside when I am offered constructive criticism, quickly becoming defensive. I subconsciously keep records on the love I give out, so I can ask for something in return at a later time. When I am in conflict, I might admit some fault in the matter, but I will insist on demonstrating the guilt of the other party, proving why they are more to blame. Because of my commitment to self-survival, I have trouble really listening to another person's pain, disappointments, or needs without becoming preoccupied with myself."

Granted, while much of this is true of me to a degree, the results aren't quite as accurate as I might on a bad day believe; in fact, in a few categories (digging below the surface, overcoming the power of the past, living in brokenness), I actually scored on the low end of adulthood, which, when you really think about it, isn't too bad for a 35-year-old.

From William J. Doherty's Take Back Your Marriage (a book that, despite its cheeseball title and cover, is not written from a Christian perspective, but oozes much truth in its analysis):

"I am in consumer mode when I fail to look at my own limitations, when I continually compare my spouse or marriage to my fantasies of other relationships, when I confuse my desires with my needs, when I lose the distinction between behavior that is is completely unacceptable (such as physical abuse, infidelity, alcoholism, emotional cruelty, and chronic lying) and behavior that bothers me or saddens me (such as a spouse not giving me enough affection or emotional support, working excessive hours, showing lack of sexual interest, or having certain unlikable personality characteristics). The consumer attitude turns marital disappointments into marital tragedies and constructive efforts for improvement into entitled demands for change." (38-39)

It's interesting how God has dealt with me concerning some of these specifics in the past few years. However, it wasn't until reading Doherty that I see them as symptoms of an overshadowing condition of consumerism rather than just a random assortment of sins and selfishness. I've never thought of myself as much of a consumer in areas of finances, goods, or other such benefits, but I certainly am one when it comes to ideals and desires, especially when they're of my own creating.

Post 9/11

In Humanity on September 12, 2006 at 2:00 am

I had neither time nor words to write a 9/11 entry yesterday. This morning, however, I imagined that perhaps I had blogged something at the TwentySomeone site in previous years concerning the tragedy that I might share, but alas, after a quick search, this weak post seems about all I've been able to muster in the past five years concerning the day.

Not wanting to disappoint my dedicated readership here, I pulled out my journal from five years ago and now offer what I wrote back then (albeit, on the 13th – two whole days after the event – as I was too shaken up to do otherwise). So, for what it's worth:

"'Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.' Psalm 55:9

It has taken me two whole days before I could even begin processing with any kind of logic the events of Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. For two days I have been numb and dumbfounded, craving the latest information and yet not knowing how to deal with it when I got it.

The hardest part for me in all this was the wrestling match required to somehow view this Christianly, with God aware and involved despite the awfulness of everything. I remember thinking on Tuesday that this was too big and too much for God to have handled, that God was as surprised as the rest of us when those planes crashed into their targets.

It all seemed so out of control – the beginning of the end as we were unsure what would be next and were there more planes still to come down? The evil of all of this was (and still is to some degree) beyond imagination and, I remember thinking, the victor over a God – my God – who seemed so silent and shocked as the rest of us.

Even now, I'm not sure what exactly God is up to with regard to all of this. I suppose I can see more this morning how all these events do fit within God's plan and oversight – we are sinners who sin, sadly in some attrocious and murderous ways – but I wish he would hold some kind of press conference to let all of us know that. How, Lord, can you stay quiet after something like this? We need you to speak.

For certain, this is a watershed event in our country and culture, particularly for those twenty and under who have never experienced anything of this threatening nature before. My generation had the Challenger disaster and the tense end to the Cold War, all in the midst of a so-so economy; the generation previous was the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, and the hostage crisis of the seventies.

This event will mark these kids not only because of its atrocity, but more so because it is the first true threat to an American they have only known as prosperous, safe, and alone. That idea of our country ended on Tuesday, or at least was reshaped significantly as we all found out that, among other things, we are quite vulnerable as well.
I don't know if time truly heals all wounds. That is to say, five years doesn't seem enough for this one yet.

Adullam

In Church on September 8, 2006 at 2:00 am

The first of the Adullam Retreats officially begins tonight – fifteen of us will head to Lake Williamson in Carlinville, IL, for the first four-retreat cycle on leadership, this one focusing on learning to trust God, His Word, and His Church.

Much of the content for this particular retreat is based on my friend Bill Thrall's TrueFaced stuff, but there's a fair amount of connecting content that I'm responsible for, both to prepare as well as to come up with on the fly. I love that, but there's certainly risk involved.

It's fun to see and feel my experiences converge here – the good and helpful mentoring from Thrall (as well as The Navigators); my own response/change personally in the midst of it; the practice of walking through much of it all with others (both formally and informally). It all feels right in a variety of ways, but as it's not about me, I don't know how much any of that really matters. I'm excited for those who are going, that God might use this not just to bless them, but to bless them so that they might be a blessing to others (Genesis 12).

May these retreats very much have the spirit of Adullam to them, God. May those who are coming come with the heart to cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose" for them" (Psalm 57:2). May the righteous suround them, "for you will deal bountifully" with them (Psalm 142:7b). Use these retreats, God, for the sake of these people, for those they would then influence, and for the good glory of your Kingdom.

Words to Study By

In Seminary, Wildwood on September 6, 2006 at 2:00 am

I've only heard myself make one of these excuses with any kind of regularity this past year (feel free to post your guess), but if you're a student, here's a list of "no sympathy" lines to seriously consider with regard to your studies. Most of this professor's responses are more gracious than mine ("Suck it up.") to myself and my high school students, so I should probably work on that.

(Hat tip to Anne for the link).

Learner the Emotional Adolescent

In Thought on September 5, 2006 at 7:48 pm

Learner just took the Emotional/Spiritual Health Inventory from Peter Scazzero’s book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, which he is reading for his Marriage and Family Counseling class. According to the test (as found on pages 60-66 in the book), Learner says he’s an official “emotional adolescent” (as opposed to an emotional infant, child, or adult), the definition of which is:

“Like a physical adolescent, I know the right ways I should behave in order to ‘fit in’ mature, adult society. I can feel threatened and alarmed inside when I am offered constructive criticism, quickly becoming defensive. I subconsciously keep records on the love I give out, so I can ask for something in return at a later time. When I am in conflict, I might admit some fault in the matter, but I will insist on demonstrating the guilt of the other party, proving why they are more to blame. Because of my commitment to self-survival, I have trouble really listening to another person’s pain, disappointments, or needs without becoming preoccupied with myself.”

I assured him that, while there may be a few true themes, the results weren’t quite as overarchingly accurate as he perhaps thought. He conceded my point, saying that in a few categories (looking beneath the surface, breaking the power of the past, living in brokenness and vulnerability), he actually scored on the low end of adulthood.

“Not bad for a 35-year-old,” he said.